October 20, 2020

Family of Missing Elderly Man Seeks Closure

(Carrollton, GA/al.com) — Katie Filipovitz hasn’t been home to Ohio in five weeks. She can’t go back, she says, until she finds out what happened to her father, who was last seen in January in Alabama.

“I’m living here temporarily until we find some sort of closure,” Filipovitz said by telephone from Georgia. “I came here to find my dad. It’s unfathomable to think about leaving here without finding him.”

Her father, Lamar Allen Putnam, 79, has not been seen since Jan. 16 when he left his Carrollton, Ga. home. His black 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer was found later parked under the Tallapoosa River bridge on U.S. 431, more than a mile south of Hollis Crossroads in Cleburne County.

Since then, eight coordinated searches and other numerous patrols along the highway and the river, stretching to Lake Wedowee, have turned up no trace of the man. Filipovitz said her family is still mulling over the next step in the search, still hoping they can find out what happened.

79-year-old Lamar Allen Putnam was last seen on January 16, 2016

79-year-old Lamar Allen Putnam was last seen on January 16, 2016

Putnam left his home on Jan. 16 about 7 a.m., Filipovitz said. His wife stayed in bed, but it was not unusual for Putnam to leave that early. He was usually out doing something, she said.

“Physically, he’s not a typical 79-year-old,” she said. “He was still bush-hogging, still getting up cows, climbing ladders, physically in great shape.”

He was the kind of man who had a presence to command a room, she said, who only spoke a few words but had “a very sweet demeanor.”

Putnam was seen that morning at a service station in Roanoke. A friend called him on his cellphone, and Putnam explained that he had gone over into Alabama to “check on some cows.” He did not say where or who he might be going to see.

However, he made plans with the friend over the phone to help with bush-hogging in two weeks’ time.

“If he was planning on being gone for awhile, he wouldn’t have made plans,” she said.

This trip into Alabama was nothing new. Filipovitz said Putnam made regular trips weekly to the Montgomery stockyard every Tuesday, and attended sales in Roanoke.

But something was different this day. That was evident when police pulled surveillance footage of Putnam at the service station. Over a two-hour period beginning at 8:58 a.m., Putnam can be seen entering and exiting the station four different times. He took the phone call from his friend during that time.

He was also seen going to the counter, trying to purchase four Pepsis, four bags of potato chips, a can of Vienna sausages and some snack cakes with about $7. The clerk told him he didn’t have enough money.

“He asked her, ‘What can I get for this amount of money?'” she said. He then began to rummage through his pockets for change.

“He stood there for 56 minutes counting coins from his pocket,” Filipovitz said.

Read more of this story by William Thornton at al.com


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